Monday, September 11, 2006

Update on Mom

Thursday, September 7, Mom was released from Allegheny General Hospital after 31 days to a long-term acute care facility in Monroeville. She had a set back three weeks ago and I hadn't been able to communicate with her since. It was like the lights were on, but no one was home, which is typical with brain injuries. The new facility is really nice. I went to visit her on Saturday. I sat down and started talking to her. I started to tell her about Goldstock and how much fun Riley had. The most amazing thing happened. As soon as I mentioned Riley's name, she got this big smile on her face and was really looking into my eyes. From there, I asked her all types of questions and she answered with head nods and tried to talk. She has a trachea in, so speaking is not that easy. This is such a huge step! I can't wait for her to get stronger so that she can be put into a wheelchair and I can bring Riley for a visit. Dogs are only allowed in the lobby and on the grounds. If mentioning his name gets that reaction out of her, I can't imagine what feeling is golden coat will do. I keep hoping and praying that things get better. It is such a shame for someone that is 59 to be in this condition.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I saved a life Labor Day weekend!

I attended Goldstock in Scranton, PA (six hour drive) Labor Day weekend with Riley, my golden retriever. It's a weekend fundraiser at a summer camp for Golden Retriever Rescue groups. It's like Meatball's (remember that movie) with your dog.

I excitedly took Riley, along with others and their dogs to the lake to see if Riley would swim, or jump off the dock. He had went into the water once when he was a pup to retrieve a stick and was horrified! I hoped he had grown out of it and thought that seeing hundreds of dogs in the water would make him want to go in too. He was having nothing of it. Go figure, a Golden that doesn't like water!

While at the lake, I suddenly heard Jen, my roommate screaming hysterically. Bailey, her Golden had swam out really far to retrieve a buoy that he thought was a ball. The buoy was roped and anchored. Bailey was swimming with all his might to bring the "ball" back to the dock. He was getting exhausted, yet he would NOT release the ball. We feared that he was tangled up in the rope. He was not going to stop until he had retrieved the "ball", retrievers just can't leave something!

Without hesitation, I went running toward the dock along with Karen from England. I started dropping all my gear, my backpack, leash, took off my jacket, sweatshirt, kicked off my shoes, socks and threw my hat, sunglasses, cellphone and purse on the dock as I was racing to the water. Despite it being 54 degrees, I jumped in the lake with all my clothes on, swam out to Bailey and attempted to take the buoy from him. He growled at me, (that stinker) but gave it to me. I then checked to be sure he wasn't tangled and he immediately swam for the dock. He was so tired, it took three people to lift him out of the lake.

I arrived at the dock to find Riley looking down at me from the dock with my socks, jacket and sweatshirt in his mouth. Seems that he went behind me and gathered up all my clothes for me. Too bad I was the one in the water and not him! Guess he was the smart one all nice and dry!

Attending this event was a wonderful thing for me. Up until the moment I got in my car to go, I didn't know if I had the physical or emotional strength to go. My Mom's illness and hospitalization has really been sucking the life out of me. Something made me go. I truly believe that I was meant to be there to save Bailey.

Karen and Rhonda get Bailey situated with Jen, his mom.

Here's Bailey, the precious baby, sleeping on a spare bed at camp later that night.

7 MALE dogs, waiting for their treats. Riley is first on the left. Believe it or not, no fighting, snipping, nothing! I am amazed at this breed!

Riley, Starlight, Fletcher, Bailey, Noah, Conner and Leo

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mom..........round two!

In March 2005, my Mom nearly died from renal failure. She was hospitalized for 23 days and diagnosed with Bright's Syndrome. It is basically, chronic kidney disease. For the past year and a half, she has been getting dialysis three days a week. Well Mom is back in the hospital again. Monday morning, I got a call at 6:30 from the dialysis center saying that Mom never showed up. After calling her and getting no answer, I called the neighbor and he said her car was in the garage, yet she wasn't answering the door or the phone. So we called 911, by the time I got down there, they were already in there. Seems she got dizzy and fell, so they took her to the emergency room. She told the doctor that she had a headache the day before, so they did a CT scan, which showed bleeding on the brain. They life flighted her to Pittsburgh, where they immediately did brain surgery. They made a small incision at the lower back of her skull, removed a portion of bone and the two blood clots, went down into her skull, which is good and they got the bleeding stopped. They said that with her on blood thinners, it can make a small incident into a large on in no time. I don't know if she fell and hit her head (she landed in a big pile of clothing) or if an earlier head wound caused the fall. It's all a mystery. I was at both hospitals all day, Monday and finally got to see her at 9:30 pm. She developed a fever Thursday, it finally broke on Saturday. Also her one arm swelled and the skin turned black and had blisters all over it. It looks like and IV was infiltrated. On Friday, it looked like they had cut and removed all the dead skin from it. It's such a mess.

She is now awake and alert and will answer questions with head nods. She just doesn't seem like she is all there mentally. She moves her good arm erratically, pulls away when I try to touch her and has a very vacant look in her eyes.

I am just trying to take each day at a time!!